Major evacuations Turkey due to forest fires: at least 4 dead and 200 injured | Abroad

Images show black plumes of smoke from the forest around Manavgat, which is about 75 kilometers east of the tourist city of Antalya. Mayor Sukru Sozen said the flames had spread to the center of the city, where many buildings were evacuated. “It is currently impossible to determine the extent of the damage. Several villages were also affected. We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Sozen Haberturk.

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Ten people stranded in a dam near Manavgat were rescued. Eighteen villages in the area had to be evacuated due to smoke nuisance and villages and hotels in neighboring provinces also had to be evacuated.

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In Mugla province, flames reached about 40 meters from houses and hotels in Marmaris and reached the gardens of two five-star hotels near Milas. There, the police evacuated the holidaymakers on the beach as a precaution. Some boat owners helped tourists escape. Also in Bodrum the fire came close to the hotels and tourists had to be evacuated. The flames approached the city center.

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Houses have been destroyed in several places and the power was cut in some neighborhoods.

In the capital Istanbul, according to social media reports, a fire in a restaurant also spread to the surrounding forest during the night from Thursday to Friday.

At least four dead

At least three people were killed in Antalya province, according to Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli. Osman and Sehir Kardas lost their lives in the Manavgat region after trying to lead their sheep away. As the fire approached, they hid in their home in fear, their son says. “My father called and said, ‘The fire has surrounded the house.’” His parents’ bodies were found in the kitchen and toilet. An investigation is underway as to why the doors of their home were locked.

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An 82-year-old man who was home alone died near Akseki while his village was being evacuated, Anadolu reports. According to the state news agency, there are now a fourth death in the province.

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Sahin Akdemir, 25, died while trying to help the fire brigade.

Sahin Akdemir, 25, died while trying to help the fire brigade.

A civilian was also killed in Marmaris, in Mugla province, Minister Pakdemirli reported. CNN Türk reports that 25-year-old Sahin Akdemir, who worked in the tourism industry, was like many civilians helping the fire brigade. He did that in the tourist resort of Icmeler, near Marmaris. When he tried to bring water to firefighters with his motorcycle, he was surrounded by the flames.

About 200 people were injured in the fires and taken to hospital.

Wind makes extinguishing difficult

There are dozens of fires that have started in recent days, especially in the south of Turkey, including in the regions of Antalya, Alanya, Mersin and Adana. A large part of the forest fires are now under control, but the fires are still raging in at least 10 places, state news agency Anadolu reports. Minister Pakdemirli reported late on Twitter on Thursday evening that about 20 of the 63 fires are not yet under control.

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Some 4,000 firefighters are fighting the fires from the ground and from the air, including 38 helicopters and 3 planes. The extinguishing works are hampered by persistent strong winds.

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The Turkish regions are experiencing a heat wave and there is a lot of wind, while it is very dry. This allowed the fire to spread quickly. Firefighters and meteorologists suspect that all fires were started or at least unintentionally caused by humans.

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There are plenty of rumors going around about who started the fires. For a moment it sounded that two arrested “PKK terrorists” were behind one of the fires, but that was later debunked. According to witnesses, the fire in Marmaris was caused by two children aged 8 and 10 playing. That is being investigated.

In Manavgat, police struggled to evacuate two people suspected of starting the bushfire. An angry mob attacked the two and later set fire to their car. Firefighters extinguished the vehicle, and riot police were dispatched to the scene in an attempt to disperse some 3,000 civilians. According to the authorities, it is not yet clear whether the two targeted persons have anything to do with the forest fire.

Also France, Spain and Italy

Both northeastern Spain and southwestern France and several regions in Italy have also been affected by wildfires.

West of Barcelona, ​​more than a thousand hectares of forest and farmland have already been reduced to ashes. The flames have so far reduced 1,100 hectares of forest and farmland to ashes, the Catalan Forest Service reported. According to local media, it is the largest wildfire of the year in forested Catalonia. As has already reached parts of Barcelona.

Italian emergency services continued their efforts on Thursday to bring the growing wildfires under control in the country. There are currently about 240 fires, according to the fire service.

The Italian regions have submitted as many as 34 requests for assistance from fire-fighting aircraft, Italy’s Civil Defense confirmed on Thursday. The calls came from Calabria to the south, Lazio, where the capital is Rome, and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The drought, heat and strong winds have fueled the fires in recent days.

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Northern Italy, on the other hand, has a different kind of severe weather, with heavy rains causing flooding. The provinces along Lake Como in Lombardy have been hardest hit.

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